Elf Gift review by Alan Chin

 Alan Chin

Alan Chin

In current day San Francisco, Sister Mary Rose Harlowe and Broderick Ellis are brought together by a mysterious old woman to solve a mystery that began in Ireland at the time of the potato famine. Mary Rose and Broderick find themselves in a mad rush to get answers that can prevent disasters and save countless lives. What they uncover is truly remarkable, secret powers that have been in play for centuries. It is something that the holy authorities in Rome will do anything to crush. But as remarkable as this mystery is, Mary Rose and Broderick discover that the most shocking revelation is about their own lives.

Bud Gundy has created a truly innovative romp though history, captured in a voice that is magical and amusing. The plot is chock full of twists and turns and the two protagonist must use their considerable wits to maneuver between the landmines.

Like most good stories, it is the characters that make this tale so interesting. Sister Mary Rose is a devout nun, but she is also a headstrong woman who will not be pushed around by her ‘superiors’. Broderick is a fun-loving gay atheist. Together, they clash in a fun way, much like the Odd Couple or Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

The plot is both serious and fanciful. It is fast paced and there are times when I couldn’t read it fast enough. It is a page-turner with a surprise ending.

There are times in the story when Sister Mary Rose climbs onto her soapbox to convince Broderick there is a holy power, and to me (a non-Christian) it sounded too much like preaching. I would have preferred that the author have gotten his point across in more subtle ways.

This is a wonderful read that I highly recommend to all readers who love well-drawn characters and a superb story.